Evaluation of the effects of flushing feed manufacturing equipment with chemically treated rice hulls on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus cross-contamination during feed manufacturing

J Anim Sci. 2018 Sep 29;96(10):4149-4158. doi: 10.1093/jas/sky295.


Various strategies have been proposed to mitigate potential risk of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) transmission via feed and feed ingredients. Wet disinfection has been found to be the most effective decontamination of feed mill surfaces; however, this is not practical on a commercial feed production scale. Another potential mitigation strategy would be using chemically treated rice hulls flushed through the feed manufacturing equipment. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine the effects of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) or formaldehyde-treated rice hull flush batches as potential chemical mitigation strategies for PEDV during feed manufacturing. Feed without evidence of PEDV RNA contamination was inoculated with PEDV. Based on polymerase chain reaction analysis, this feed had a cycle threshold (Ct) = 30.2 and was confirmed infective in bioassay. After manufacturing the PEDV-positive feed, untreated rice hulls, formaldehyde-treated rice hulls, 2% MCFA- (a 1:1:1 blend of hexanoic, octanoic, and decanoic acid) treated rice hulls, or 10% MCFA-treated rice hulls were flushed through laboratory scale mixers. For the untreated rice hulls, 3 of 6 samples had detectable PEDV RNA, whereas 1 of 6 formaldehyde-treated rice hull flush samples and 2 of 6 of the 2% MCFA rice hull flush samples had detectable PEDV RNA. However, PEDV RNA was not detected in any of the 10% MCFA rice hull flush samples. Then, rice hulls treated with 10% MCFA were mixed and discharged through a production scale mixer and bucket elevator following PEDV-positive feed. No rice hull flush or feed samples from the mixer following chemically treated rice hull flush had detectible PEDV RNA. However, one 10% MCFA rice hull sample collected from the bucket elevator discharge spout had detectible PEDV RNA. Dust collected following mixing of PEDV contaminated feed had detectable PEDV RNA (Ct = 29.4) and was infectious. However, dust collected immediately after the 10% MCFA rice hull flush batch had a reduced quantity of PEDV RNA (Ct = 33.7) and did not cause infection. Overall, the use of rice hull flushes effectively reduced the quantity of detectible RNA present after mixing a batch of PEDV-positive feed. Chemical treatment of rice hulls with formaldehyde or 10% MCFA provided additional reduction in detectible RNA. Finally, dust collected after manufacturing PEDV-inoculated feed has the potential to serve as a vector for PEDV transmission.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / virology*
  • Animals
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Disinfection
  • Equipment Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Oryza
  • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus / physiology*
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Swine Diseases / virology